From “Get Lost in This Jaw-Dropping View of the Eagle Nebula”

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October 26, 2015
Calla Cofield

The Pillars of Creation can be seen in this highly detailed view of the Eagle Nebula. Credit: Terry Hancock, Gordon Wright, Colin Cooper, Kim Quick.

It’s easy to get lost in this jaw-dropping snapshot of the Eagle Nebula, which offers a high-resolution view of an incredible space landscape.

The Eagle Nebula is a massive collection of gas and dust, which serves as fertile soil for the birth of new stars. The blue, lagoonlike region at the center of the image contains the iconic, fingerlike structures known as the Pillars of Creation. The blue, green and red indicate the presence of different gasses.

The image was created by a collaboration of four astrophotographers, and is composed of 177 individual frames, with a total integration time of 32 hours. The group members are Terry Hancock of Michigan (whose sky images have been featured on many times before), Gordon Wright from Scotland, Colin Cooper, Spain; and Kim Quick, Florida. The full-size image is almost too much to take in all at once, so viewers are encouraged to zoom in [?] and get lost in the details of this incredible snapshot.

The Eagle Nebula is about 7,000 light-years from Earth, and is approximately 70 light-years tall and 55 light-years wide. (One light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles, or 10 trillion kilometers). The blue in the image shows the presence of ionized oxygen (meaning oxygen atoms that have lost electrons), green shows the presence of hydrogen, and red, ionized sulfur.

The Pillars of Creation were first captured in a stunning image by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995 and again, in higher resolution, in 2014. The Pillars were likely an active bed of star formation at one time, but scientists have recently observed very low levels of X-ray light coming from the region, suggesting that star formation has slowed.


The Eagle Nebula and the Star Queen nebula can be seen in this annotated view. Credit: Terry Hancock, Gordon Wright, Colin Cooper, Kim Quick.

From, “Hubble Telescope Captures Spectacular New Views of ‘Pillars of Creation'”, Nola Taylor Redd, January 06, 2015

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken a fresh look at the iconic Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula 6,500 light-years from Earth, revealing the most detailed view yet of a feature Hubble originally discovered 20 years ago. The new image was taken to commemorate Hubble’s 25th anniversary in 2015.
Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team

An infrared view of the Eagle Nebula reveals many of the stars at the heart of its pillars. Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble and the Hubble Heritage Team

NASA Hubble Telescope

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